Winkles & Dillisk
Does he suspect the boys
who sell him the tin cans, the cable,
the planks and nails, that they steal the stuff back
at night then sell it again?
He can wheelbarrow a load of bricks
all the way to the village—
and back, if he makes no sale.
The old tar’s been twisting ropes
and rusty wire into varmints,
into devils, into penises and breasts
and something like pelvises, won’t look you in the eye
but sees you. You become a gargoyle
you can recognize, if you will. Never talks
about the son lost at sea
or the wife who died of lockjaw
in his ropy arms,
told me the one thing he can’t get
out of his head is standing on a road
somewhere between Longford and Sligo
watching the sun and the moon threaten each other
on their opposite horizons.
I, idiot, said,
“Silver apples of the moon, golden apples
of the sun.” He looked at me then,
out of all those scorched wrinkles.
A colder blue you’ve never felt.
And streaked, flecked, tainted.
“Come on down to the shore,” I said, “we
can have some winkles and dillisk.”
I was thinking of the cart run
by the saucy girl at the bottom
of the road, of her consoling eye.
“Shite,” he said, “festering sea-wrack!
How bout a whiskey?” “Bit early for me, ”
I said, but he was already moving,
going every which way in the joints
and disappearing fast.